Friday was the last day for ASX listed companies with June 30 balance
dates to release their annual report and notice of meeting for the
upcoming AGM season and wasn’t it an impressive list of penny dreadfuls who
waited until the very last minute.
New Fairfax chairman Ron Walker is clearly setting the tone for his
leadership of the august media empire. It’s annual report was lodged at
4.14pm on the last possible day and there is still no sign of the
notice of meeting. Maybe the board is still deciding whether to “do a
Gunns” and claim their is no vacancy on the board for Crikey’s tilt.
We’ve remarked before that Australian media companies are meant to
uphold corporate ethics but often display some of the worst corporate
governance going around. How ironic that Southern
Cross Broadcasting, king of the commercial shock jocks, dropped its
annual report at 3.17pm on Friday, ensuring that any ugly details would
not be discussed on radio anywhere the following morning.
Other notable efforts included Leighton Holdings dropping Wal King’s
ridiculously excessive pay packet at 2.10pm on Friday. King collected a
regular $12.8 million for 2004-05, plus the ridiculous $23 million long
term bonus revealed in April, lifting his total payments to a
staggering $36 million. No wonder Leighton was trying to keep it quiet.
Booming healthcare company DCA was another laggard coming in 3.45pm and
burgeoning ISP iinet is not so fast with its own connection to the ASX
as its annual report dropped at 6.54pm, although at least it has the
excuse of being based in Perth.
Centennial Coal has been embroiled in takeover action as it tries to buy Austral Coal, which might explain why its annual report came through at 5.09pm.
The worst of the worst didn’t meet the deadline and only came through
with their reports on Monday morning. The Macquarie Bank controlled
Allstate Explorations was one of these, revealing an $8.374 million
profit in 2004-05, well down on the $33.427 million it make in 2003-04.
Whilst Macquarie’s $20 million bank loan has now been fully repaid,
notorious debt purchase deal with administrator Michael Ryan sees it
still with the hand out for another $47.7 million in unsecured loans
that, as we all now know, cost the bank just $300,000 to buy. Clearly
it will be in adminstration for many years to come before Macquarie
gets paid in full.
Other companies splashing around the red ink on Friday included ERG and
Multiemedia. David Koch’s Palamedia was also in the throng but that is
worthy of a whole separate item in our media section today. If you’ve spotted some dodgy numbers
in the fine print of Friday’s deluge or reckon you know what some of
these companies are trying to hide, drop us a line to